By H. E. James, guest contributor

Are you getting ready to style a home during the coming holiday season?  You know that a holiday-staged home can sell faster during the holiday season, and you’ve proved that to your client, but perhaps you’ve never dipped your toe into holiday staging or decorating.  You’re not quite sure if you should go full-on Martha Stewart winter tablescapes or just toss some dried flowers in a vase and call it good.

Depending on your ambition and that of your home owner, you could indeed create the former.  Or perhaps the latter is more everyone’s style for getting a home ready to sell.  Let’s explore the options.

A Few Variables

Boise, Idaho-based stager Nicolle Benson calls “holiday decorating” an opportunity to highlight a client’s home in a festive light.  Working with the home owner’s and the existing decor of the house can be an extra challenge during the holidays, but it may pay off.

Benson also stresses the importance of researching the market trends in your geographical area.

“If houses sell quickly in your area, why waste time and effort on decorating for a holiday that lasts just a week?” she says.

Feasting Fancies

If you are going to set a holiday-festive table, you can gather any  number of ways to do it, from bare bones to full-on feasting.

One easy way to decorate a holiday table — “dried flowers,” says Benson.  “Seasonal dried arrangements of any kind, really.”

Take a look:


Image credit: Didriks

If the wheaty tablescape above won’t work for the space you’re helping sell, try something more eclectic. In a decidedly modern home full of cool tones and sharp edges, try something completely out-of-the-box, like white pumpkins, ikat prints, and lots of pinecones.


Image credit: Maegan Tintari


This vibrant tablescape could do double duty for a home on the market throughout the holiday season.  The white pumpkins showcase a Thanksgiving vibe, while the smattering of pine cones pull in the Christmas season, depending on the market in the area.

Holiday Living Spaces

When considering holiday decor, don’t just think “Christmas!”  Just like the above holiday tablescape, something decidedly “un-Christmasy” can be just as beautiful for the holidays.  It can also be put together with what a home owner already has, and in a matter of minutes. For Benson and her colleagues, this is a great way to decorate for the holidays.


Image credit: Maegen Tintari


You might be compelled to replace the antlers with something a little less polarizing, but tossing a few lighted sprigs on the beast and decorating the mantel with minimal greenery and lights can give a living space a great sense of holiday flair.

Using decor already owned by the seller is a great way to save time and money during holiday staging.  You don’t have to shop, and the home owner doesn’t have to spend extra money.  For outdoor wreaths, refresh them with some new ribbon and a few new baubles found at a local craft store.

“I know stagers who’ll only work with the holiday decorations a home owner already has,” Benson says.  “That’s affordable.  It could turn into a challenge, or it could turn out to be really easy.”


Image credit: Cindy Shebley

In the living spaces, don’t forget to work with the decor that’s already in place.  If your home owner’s decor is strictly modern, that’s easy to accent with pops of holiday red or green.  Or neither, as Benson pointed out: “Don’t just rely on the stereotypical holiday colors.”


Image credit: Maegen Tintari

You can always be highly creative with a home owner’s existing decor and replace the art on the wall with complementing holiday art in the same colors.  Use a pop of color like the feather tree to play up the design of the house.


Image credit: Tobyotter

Benson looks to all holidays as inspiration when decorating clients’ homes.  There are holidays other than Christmas, and they come with color schemes all their own, from bright blues to deep reds.  If you’re working with a client who observes a holiday like Hanukkah or Kwanza, you must be conscious of not only the colors but of the tenets of the holidays themselves.  If you’re drawing on the whole of the holiday season as inspiration, as Benson does, you might want to play with shades and color combos.

What Does the Client Want?

In the end, holiday staging comes down to the desire of the client.  If your client wants a full-on holiday pastiche, and you provide that service, you’ll need to work with your resources, whether that’s a budget from the client or the antique decorations he’s packed away in the attic.

Regardless, “definitely keep it simple,” Benson says.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hattie James is a writer and researcher living in Boise, Idaho. She is a former electronic content manager and analyst for a government agency. Find her on Twitter: @hejames1008 or LinkedIn


Source: StyledStagedSold